Gas, New Projects, On-Site Power, Reciprocating Engines

Burns & McDonnell oversees completion of Michigan gas-fired quick response plants

Two quick-ramping Michigan gas-fired power plant projects overseen by Burns & McDonnell are now commissioned and in operation, the Kansas City, Mo.-based engineering and construction firm reported Thursday.

The  F.D. Kuester and A.J. Mihm generating stations are both located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Both plants are powered by 18-MW, natural gas-fueled Wärtsilä 18V50SG reciprocating engines and total 180 MW in generation capacity.

The advanced reciprocating engine technology was selected because each engine can be separately dispatched, providing enhanced power quality and grid stability. This characteristic is especially important in the Upper Peninsula.

“We have designed and built many of the utility-scale reciprocating engine projects in the country, says Rick Halil, president of the Energy Group at Burns & McDonnell. “The generating stations are demonstrating how flexible, fast-start, low-cost gas-fired generation resources can improve resiliency and power factors on the regional grid.”

Burns & McDonnell was selected as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the two plants in late 2017. Construction began in February 2018, and generating stations reached commercial operation March 31.

The plants are owned and operated by Upper Michigan Energy Resources (UMERC), a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group.

A.J. Mihm Generating Station consists of three, 18-MW Wärtsilä 18V50SG engines while F.D. Kuester Generating Station consists of seven engines. Each 325-ton engine was shipped by ocean vessel from Italy to dock facilities in L’Anse, Michigan, then offloaded onto special 400-foot heavy-haul trailers for final transport to respective job sites in Baraga and Marquette counties.